Clearwater Housing Authority dealing with residential eyesores

— Clearwater Housing Authority officials will begin repairs on two dilapidated properties this month to make them available for occupancy to low-income families next year.

In a city council update earlier this month, Jacqueline Rivera, the housing authority’s CEO, and Deborah Woodard, chairwoman of the housing authority board, said clean up on a neglected 13-unit apartment building property, known as Paradise Trail, is under way.

“It’s a quaint neighborhood that has some nice homes,” Rivera said. “But the property looks like garbage, really.”

The authority purchased the building and property in July 2013 for $575,000, according to public records. The 10,960-square-foot, two-story building at 1111 Cardova Lane is near the Pinellas Trail and just minutes from Clearwater Harbor.

“We purchased it, we’re cleaning it out, we’re going to repair it,” Rivera said. “It will be 100 percent better. It’s an eyesore, and the neighbors across the street have been very supportive,” encouraging the city to fix up the place.

Once that work is complete, the rental property will feature nine one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units, she said.

The housing authority also plans to renovate two troubled public housing properties, both single-family homes purchased in 2008. The property at 1537 Palmetto St. cost $210,000, while the residence at 1541 Palmetto St. was bought for $219,000. The homes are expected to be available once the Federal Housing and Urban Development approves a request by the housing authority to covert these public housing units into affordable home ownership, according to Rivera.

The 73-year-old housing authority oversees 215 public housing units and 529 mixed-income affordable housing units in the city, she said. About 45 percent of those properties are dependent on federal dollars.

The housing authority also oversees applications for individuals seeking public housing and rental assistance through federally funded programs including Family Self-Sufficiency and Housing Choice Voucher.

Under the Family Self-Sufficiency program, low-income families are provided opportunities for education, job training, counseling and other aid, while living in assisted housing, so they can obtain skills necessary to support themselves. Forty-one families with a total of 102 children are receiving assistance through the program, according to Woodard.

The Housing Choice Voucher program helps very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Eleven-hundred applicants are receiving assistance through this program, she said.

The housing authority also manages these three properties, considered mixed-income affordable housing, that aren’t federally funded:

• The Hampton at Clearwater, 1099 N. McMullen-Booth Road, with 275 units for seniors;

• Mainstreet Apartments, 1100 S. Missouri Ave., with 204 units;

• And Pineview Apartments, 1581 Greenlea Drive, with 50 units.

The housing authority additionally oversees two public senior housing properties: Barbee Towers, 1100 Druid Road, a 12-story building with 150 units; and Ralph Richards Towers, 211 Prospect Ave., a seven-story building with 50 units

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